Janet Leigh would have turned 85 on Friday, July 6. In her honor, Turner Classic Movies is showing eight Janet Leigh movies (see TCM schedule below), including one of her landmark motion pictures: John Frankenheimer’s political thriller The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
Considered one of the greatest political movies ever made in Hollywood, The Manchurian Candidate stars Laurence Harvey as a Korean War veteran who is a robot-like pawn to an enemy government. In what amounts to a supporting role, Janet Leigh plays a woman who falls for another disturbed war veteran, Frank Sinatra. If you’re able to suspend disbelief for a couple of hours, you may enjoy The Manchurian Candidate. If you can’t, there’s always Angela Lansbury delivering one of the greatest performances of the ’60s – while also giving a more complex meaning to the concept of Mother Love.
Schedule (PT) and synopses from the TCM website:
3:30 AM THAT FORSYTE WOMAN (1949). An unhappily married woman falls in love with her niece’s fiance. Directed by: Compton Bennett. Cast: Errol Flynn, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Janet Leigh, Robert Young. Color. 113 million.
5:30 AM HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1950). A young widow is torn between a boring businessman and a romantic ne’er-do-well. Directed by: Don Hartman. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey, Gordon Gebert, Esther Dale, Henry O’Neill, Harry Morgan. Black and white. 87 million.
7:15 AM STRICTLY DISHONORABLE (1951). An opera star risks disaster when he marries a lovesick fan. Directed by: Melvin Frank. Cast: Ezio Pinza, Janet Leigh, Millard Mitchell. Black and white. 95 million.
9:00 AM TWO TICKETS TO BROADWAY (1951). A small-town girl finds love on the road to Broadway stardom. Directed by: James V. Kern. Cast: Tony Martin, Janet Leigh, Gloria DeHaven, Eddie Bracken, Ann Miller, Barbara Lawrence, Charles Dale and Joe Smith. Color. 107 million.
11:00 AM JUST THIS ONCE (1952). A playboy hands control of his dwindling fortune to a pretty girl. Directed by: Don Weis. Cast: Janet Leigh, Peter Lawford, Lewis Stone. Black and white. 90 million.
12:45 PM THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962). A Korean War hero doesn’t realize he has been programmed to kill by the enemy. Directed by: John Frankenheimer. Cast: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury. Black and white. 127 million. Letterbox.
3:00 PM BYE BYE BIRDIE (1963). A rock star’s personal appearance turns a small town into a disaster area. Directed by: George Sidney. Cast: Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret. Color. 112 million. Letterbox.
5:00 PM THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955). A wandering cowboy gets caught in the rivalry between an aging rancher’s sons. Directed by: Anthony Mann. Cast: James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp. Color. 102 million. Letterbox.
7:00 PM THE NAKED SPUR (1953). A captive outlaw uses psychological tactics to prey on a bounty hunter. Directed by: Anthony Mann. Cast: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker. Color. 92 million.
9:00 PM TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961). Two tough westerners bring home a group of settlers who have spent years as Comanche hostages. Directed by: John Ford. Cast: James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones, Linda Cristal, Andy Devine, Paul Birch, John McIntire, Harry Carey Jr, Olive Carey, Chet Douglas. Color. 109 million. Letterbox.
11:00 PM POSSESSION (1981). In search of his missing wife, a man uncovers a deadly motive for her behavior. Directed by: Andrzej Zulawski. Cast: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent. Color. 123 million. Letterbox.
1:15 AM REPULSION (1965). Strange dreams haunt a beautiful young woman left alone in her apartment. Directed by: Roman Polanski. Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux, Patrick Wymark, Renee Houston. Black and white. 105 million.
Frank Sinatra / Janet Leigh The Manchurian Candidate 1962 picture: United Artists.